Oroshigane Grater: The Best Japanese Kitchen Tool for Radish & Ginger

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Many ingredients like radish or ginger must be grated when cooking Japanese dishes.

Trying to grate tough roots like ginger or horseradish can be challenging.

That’s why Japanese chefs turn to an oroshigane, a traditional Japanese metallic/copper grater.

Oroshigane Grater- The Best Japanese Kitchen Tool for Radish & Ginger

A Japanese Oroshigane grater is a type of kitchen utensil used to grate ingredients such as daikon radish, ginger, garlic, wasabi, and horseradish. It is usually made from copper and has a flat rectangular shape with a short wooden handle.

In this article, I’ll explain what the Oroshigane grater is, discuss the different types and share some interesting tips on how and what to use it for.

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What is a Oroshigane grater?

The Oroshigane (“grating metal”) grater, a staple in Japanese homes, shreds food more finely than its Western counterparts, helping to preserve its flavor and texture.

A traditional copper oroshigane is a Japanese grater that is typically made of copper and features sharp teeth or raised bumps on its surface for grating various ingredients.

Daikon radish, ginger, daikon, horseradish and other roots are quickly minced through the grater’s finer teeth.

It’s often used to grate garlic, wasabi (although there’s a better grater for that called an oroshi or sharkskin grater) and radishes.

Traditionally, the Oroshigane grater is made of copper, but you can find them made of stainless steel as well.

Tsuboe makes a traditional but affordable version of the tool that grinds things like daikon radish and garlic very finely.

TSUBOE Japanese copper Grater oroshigane for daikon radish and garlic

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The grater is made with a rectangular paddle shape, which makes it easier to use.

The grater usually has a small wooden handle that’s rectangular or round. This handle is attached to one end of the grater, allowing the user to hold it securely while grating.

The copper version can last for years and even become heirloom items passed down from generation to generation.

The Orishigane has a flat, slightly curved surface and is perfect for grating hard, dense foods.

It makes the job easier by letting you to hold onto it while grating. The flat surface also makes it easy to clean.

A traditional Japanese grater looks like a paddle or board, with triangular teeth along the sides.

It is used to grate many kinds of ingredients such as daikon radish, ginger and garlic.

The Oroshigane Japanese grater is a classic grater perfect for grating small amounts of food like ginger, garlic, or citrus zest.

Unlike a box grater, the grated food stays on the grater. The sharp teeth make even the toughest ginger into a smooth paste.

Copper is a popular material for traditional oroshigane graters because it is a good conductor of heat, which allows it to quickly grate ingredients while keeping them cool.

Additionally, copper is a durable material that can withstand frequent use and can develop a natural patina over time, which many people find appealing.

The surface of a traditional copper oroshigane grater is typically rough to the touch, with sharp teeth or bumps that are evenly spaced to create a consistent texture when grating.

The teeth or bumps are often shaped like triangles or rectangles, and their size can vary depending on the intended use of the grater.

Some traditional copper oroshigane graters also feature decorative designs or patterns etched into the surface, adding to their aesthetic appeal.

The Japanese have been using the Oroshigane grater for centuries, making it an essential part of the traditional cuisine.

With its unique shape and texture, the Oroshigane grater allows you to make high-quality, fine-textured dishes with ease.

What does Oroshigane mean?

The word “Oroshigane” is Japanese and literally means “grating metal.”

It refers to a type of grater used to finely grate various ingredients, such as daikon radish, ginger, garlic, wasabi and horseradish.

The reason why it’s called a grating metal is that it’s made out of metal: copper, aluminum, or stainless steel.

Why is a oroshigane grater special?

An oroshigane grater is a traditional Japanese kitchen tool used for grating ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, and sometimes even cheese.

It typically consists of a flat metal surface with sharp teeth or raised bumps on one side and a handle on the other.

The teeth are used to grate the ingredients, which can then be used in various dishes such as salads, stir-fries, and soups.

Unlike many box-shaped Western graters, the oroshigane is very low profile, making it easy to store in a kitchen drawer.

Types of Oroshigane graters

Oroshigane graters come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the intended use.

Some are small and handheld, while others are larger and designed to be placed on a flat surface for easier grating.

Various teeth/bump sizes

The teeth or bumps on the grater can also vary in size and shape, depending on the desired texture of the grated ingredient.

Usually, larger teeth are used to grate harder ingredients like daikon radish, while finer teeth can grate softer ingredients like garlic.


There are three main types of oroshigane graters: the flat type, the circular type, and the box-shaped type.

The flat type is typically used for grating hard, dense ingredients such as ginger and garlic.

The circular type is designed to grate semi-soft foods like cheese and the box-shaped type is used for grating softer ingredients such as carrots, potatoes and cucumbers.


The traditional oroshigane grater is made out of copper.

This metal is a good conductor of heat, which allows it to grate ingredients quickly while keeping them cool.

Additionally, copper is a durable material that can withstand frequent use and can develop a natural patina over time, which many people find appealing.

The surface of a traditional copper oroshigane grater is typically rough to the touch, with sharp teeth or bumps that are evenly spaced to create a consistent texture when grating.

There are now plenty of stainless steel as well as aluminum graters available in the market as well, which are more affordable than copper. 

These materials are lightweight and easy to maintain, making them popular among many cooks.

What is a Oroshigane used for?

The oroshigane grater is used to grate all types of ingredients for Japanese foods.

Here is a short list of some of the things that can be grated with this tool:

  • Daikon Radish
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Cheese
  • Zesty citrus
  • Horseradish
  • Wasabi (although the sharkskin grater is better suited for that task)

The oroshigane grater is an invaluable tool in any Japanese kitchen, and its unique design makes it perfect for creating high-quality, fine-textured dishes with ease.

With its classic design and versatile use, the oroshigane grater is sure to be a staple in many households and restaurants for generations to come.

How to use a Oroshigane grater

Here are the steps to use an oroshigane grater:

  1. Choose the right type of oroshigane grater for the food you want to grate. There are different sizes and types of graters, so select the one that best fits your needs.
  2. Prepare the food by washing and peeling it if necessary. Cut it into a size that is easy to handle and hold.
  3. Hold the oroshigane grater securely on a cutting board or table with one hand, and use the other hand to hold the food you want to grate.
  4. Rub the food against the sharp teeth or edges of the oroshigane grater, moving it back and forth in a steady motion. Apply gentle pressure and be careful not to grate your fingers or knuckles.
  5. Continue grating the food until you achieve the desired texture or size. The finer the teeth, the finer the texture of the grated food.
  6. Use a brush or a damp cloth to remove any leftover food particles from the grater.
  7. Rinse the grater under running water, and dry it with a clean towel.

Oroshigane vs Western grater vs Sharkskin grater

Many people wonder what the difference is between an oroshigane grater, the even finer sharkskin grater and a western-style grater.

Grating with an Oroshigane is much finer than with a grater designed in the Western style.

Those box-shaped Western graters or the small handheld ones are designed for grating cheeses, nuts and other hard ingredients into small pieces.

The oroshigane grater is designed to produce ingredients that require a finer texture, such as those used in Japanese cooking. The sharkskin grater is even finer than that.

These graters have historically been made from tin-coated copper plates with numerous small spikes gouged out of the metal, but no actual perforations.

Professional chefs continue to rely on and recommend these graters.

Only graters with shark skin surfaces are used for grating ingredients such as wasabi and yamaimo.

A metal grater can’t compare to the fineness of the grating on these; they’re more like sandpaper.

Nowadays, however, most home cooks use graters made of other metals, plastics, or ceramics because they are much more affordable.

Today’s versions of these graters often feature perforations and are sold with a matching container, which the grated food then falls through and into.

The Oroshigane grater comes in two widely used varieties, each with a distinct level of coarseness.

Grating daikon and similar foods requires a coarse grater, while wasabi and ginger require finer graters.

What is the history of the Oroshigane grater?

The oroshigane grater is an ancient Japanese tool that has been used in the country for centuries.

It is believed to have originated in the Edo period (1603–1868), when it was used by the samurai for grating wasabi and ginger root.

The oroshigane grater was an essential tool in the traditional Japanese kitchen, and it was used to make all sorts of dishes, from tempura to sushi.

It was also used as a means of expressing hospitality, as it was customary to offer guests freshly grated ingredients.

In recent years, the oroshigane grater has become increasingly popular in the West as interest in traditional Japanese cuisine grows.

The grater is now widely available in stores, both online and in physical locations, and it has become a staple in many kitchens.

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If you’re looking for a grater that’s simple yet classic, then the oroshigane grater is the one for you!

This traditional Japanese grater has been around for ages and was originally used to grate daikon radish.

Oroshigane graters are still commonly used in Japan today, and are considered to be a versatile and essential tool in many Japanese kitchens.

They are also becoming more popular in other parts of the world, particularly among cooks who appreciate their efficiency and the unique texture they produce.

But now, it’s become the go-to grater for carrots, citrus, potatoes, and ginger!

Now that you have the right tool, check out the 15 Best Asian Recipes With Ginger: From Broth To Sauce

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.